Keep Your Family Warm AND Safe: The Best Present You Can Give

Family game of cards by the fireIts winter, those words do not strike fear into the hearts of many down here in sunny south Florida, but as for the rest of the country, I am sure it means a whole lot more. No matter where you are or how cold your area may become, staying warm in the winter is a must and doing it in the safest possible way should be a priority for you and your family. According to the N.F.P.A. (National Fire Protection Agency) heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Almost half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.
  • Test Carbon Monoxide Monitors as well. Some heaters put off Carbon Monoxide.
  • Have a Family Approved and Practiced Emergency escape and meet plan in case a Fire or other emergency should occur.

So as you can see, these are just a few tips to keep us all warm and safe through this winter season. Please feel free to add to this list and check your warming equipment every year before its put into use.

Thank you and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the beach here in Miami.

About the Author

Greg Atwood is a Firefighter /Paramedic in Coral Gables Florida and works for the Coral Gables Fire Rescue. He is an American Heart Association certified instructor in BLS ( Basic Life Support ), ACLS ( Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support ), and PALS ( Pediatric Advanced Life Support ). Greg currently lives in Miami Florida with his beautiful wife Alexa and their 2 sons, Connor and Jake. Greg is a member of the PedSafe Expert team

Comments

11 Responses to “Keep Your Family Warm AND Safe: The Best Present You Can Give”

  1. We had a massive snow storm that took power out for a week years back (before kids) and we had to pull our bed mattress into the living room and we had our tiny gas fireplace on and we slept with the oven door open. It was that or freeze to death. I knew how dangerous it was, that hopefully won’t ever happen again!

  2. Aaron says:

    If you are using portable space heaters then you should familiarize yourself with the safety features incorporated into the device. Tip-over and overheating cut-outs are great features to have. You should also never use an electric space heater on an extension cable as the electricity draw from space heaters can exceed the rating of the extension cable causing it to overheat.

    At the end of the day it is all about taking care when using portable heaters.

    • Stefanie ZuckerStefanie Zucker says:

      Excellent advice! It’s amazing how dangerous these little “lifesavers” can be. It’s definitely worth taking the time to learn how to use them safely. Thanks Aaron for stopping by!

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